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Coping with stone: a short-term ethnography of skilled work in UK housebuilding

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conference contribution
posted on 02.08.2019 by Richard Brett, Derek Thomson, Andrew Dainty
Speculative housebuilding in the UK is frequently criticised for the poor quality of its outputs and low productivity. Reliance on traditional and overtly manual methods of building are seen as contributors to these problems and this mode of production is unlikely to significantly change in the near future. Individual performances of skilled manual work in housebuilding are investigated using short-term ethnography, which includes traditional techniques of observation and interview as well as the collection of audio-visual data. A theoretical ideal type of 'pure craft' is developed which is then taken into the field and used to analyse the execution of skilled manual work and attendant judgements about the completion of that work. The results of the fieldwork firstly reveal an absence of codified forms of knowledge that cannot be fully explained by the alternative concepts of tacit knowledge. Secondly, the fieldwork validates the potential of short-term ethnography to reveal unforeseen or taken for granted behaviours that play out beyond the usual focus of construction management research.

History

School

  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

Published in

Working Papers of the 35th Annual ARCOM Conference

Pages

12 - 21

Source

ARCOM 2019

Publisher

Association of Researchers in Construction Management (ARCOM)

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Rights holder

© The Authors

Publisher statement

This paper was first published by ARCOM as part of the Conference Proceedings.

Publication date

2019-12

Copyright date

2019

Language

en

Location

Leeds, UK

Event dates

2nd September 2019 - 4th September 2019

Depositor

Dr Derek Thomson

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